Welcome to the sixty-sixth stoat snippet!

These snippets are a short update on the Orkney Native Wildlife Project and the Orkney Mainland Predator Invasion Biosecurity Project, as well as addressing any concerns that folk have raised with Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) and RSPB Scotland. 

If you are new to these snippets and want to know more about the project, check out this blog and this one too.


Orkney Native Wildlife Project

Firstly, we want to wish everyone a very Happy New Year and all the best for 2019!

Things have felt much the same with us in the last week or so as interviewing candidates for the many project job commenced almost as soon as we were back to work and all the other paperwork and conversations associated with recruitment for the first 19 roles continues apace. The final trapper interviews will take place on Monday and with roles starting to be accepted, we should be able to start introducing the new team in the coming weeks, which is exciting.

In the meantime, the biosecurity and incursion trap checks continue, as does the other preparation work to secure the traps and trap housings needed for the full eradication and biosecurity network.

The tender document for the 10,260 wooden housings (here) closes on Monday and we will then be able to access the offers. We will be judging the bids on experience, service quality and price. You’ll also remember that we submitted the order for 19,292 DOC 200 traps before Christmas and we have heard that the first ones that will arrive in April.

The task before that is to make sure we have land access permissions in place. So, if you own land or a house in Orkney, and we haven’t spoken to you, please email us at ONWP.landaccess@gmail.com as soon as you can.



Trapping Trial

As you’ll know, we are planning to collect all the monitoring equipment in, but we are struggling with competing demands on the team’s time at the moment and having to prioritise the incursion and biosecurity trap checks. We would like to thank landowners for their patience with this.

We would also like to thank all the landowners that took part in the summer and autumn trials that have sent feedback forms to us. If you have received a letter and haven’t yet filled in your form, we would still like to receive them. We are also happy to receive feedback at any time by email or phone so we know where we can make improvements.


Biosecurity trap network 

Mainland: Monday’s high winds prevented the team checking any traps but Marina and Heather were out on Tuesday and Friday checking the traps in the three areas in Evie and Orphir too. One stoat, in ermine (white winter coat) was caught in the Evie traps checked by Marina.

High-risk islands: Heather did the monthly check of the Shapinsay traps on Tuesday. No stoats were caught, but please continue to report any potential sightings as soon as you can as stoats could arrive at any time and could move between the islands and Mainland too.



Incursion responses

Hoy: Heather, Rebecca and Marina spent all of Wednesday and Thursday last week checking the traps in Hoy and South Walls. No stoats have been caught yet and the volunteers working through the camera trap footage haven’t found any signs of stoats either. 

South Walls: See above update.


Answering your concerns…

Remember, if you have any comments or concerns please contact north@nature.scot or orkney@rspb.org.uk, or call RSPB Scotland on 01856 850176 or SNH on the number below.

Once again, don't forget to keep reporting any sightings of stoats, as soon as possible, to SNH by calling 01463 701669, by emailing north@nature.scot or through the ‘Stoats in Orkney’ Facebook page.

And to keep up-to-date with the project, please follow our Facebook page.

  • It's interesting that although I have not found this winter to be particularly cold, but windy,  the stoat is in it's winter coat. Just shows that it is not only the cold that tells the animal to change the coat colour.